Valentine’s 1996

February 14, 2006 | 13 comments
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Valentine’s Day 1996 found my own life in an interesting state of flux. I was a month removed from a draining breakup with The Wrong Girl. I had gone through a sad January, wondering if I made the right call on TWG. At the same time, I kind of had my eye on a few girls I knew, but I was being wary and cautious.

A week before Valentine’s Day, something bit me and I called up a girl I knew, out of the blue, and asked her if she wanted to go to the snow that evening. It was in Mesa, Arizona; she was intrigued. We went behind the ice skating rink, where the Zamboni dumps the shaved ice from the rink — it’s the closest thing to snow in Mesa, really — and we had a fabulous snowball fight. She loved the idea, which was a complete surprise to her. The chemistry was definitely there, and we were thisclose to kissing, but I backed off at the last minute because I was still feeling gun-shy about relationships. She was the kind of girl that I knew it upfront — if I kissed her, I was going to fall for her, hard.

And I really didn’t want to fall for anyone, so I decided not to call her. Famous last words. My resolve lasted a few days. We went out again that Sunday, and Monday, and Tuesday. Her friends were talking about us and grilling me as to whether I was serious. I wasn’t sure myself, but I really liked this girl. I was asking them the same questions — is she serious? — and they weren’t sure, either.

I’m capable of delaying a decision for days on end. Fortunately, Wednesday was Valentine’s Day, and it accelerated the decision. Was this a relationship that I should pursue? I wasn’t even sure if she wanted to pursue it. But a day before Valentine’s, I saw a pretty pendant at the mall on one of those tacky Valentine’s Day displays. And on a whim and a gut feeling, I dropped $100 — an unbelievably huge sum for this flat-broke undergrad student — on a necklace for a girl I had been dating (?) for three days.

It was a gold heart pendant, with a tiny ruby and diamond in the center, strung on a thin gold chain. I wondered what she would think when I gave it to her. Was I going too fast, and was she even in the market for a relationship? (She had talked about wanting to go on a mission). Surely she would think that I was nuts to give her a gold necklace now, only days after our first real dates, and in the middle of all sorts of ambiguity.

I told her I had a gift for her, and I handed her the box. My pulse raced as I wondered how she would react. She opened the box slowly, and looked at the necklace inside. Her eyes grew wide with surprise. And then her face softened, and her eyes glowed, and she looked up and smiled at me. And the necklace looked absolutely beautiful on her.

Five months after, we married.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Mardell!

13 Responses to Valentine’s 1996

  1. Kevin Winters on February 14, 2006 at 2:25 pm

    Kaimi,

    I had an experience that was somewhat similar but totally different:

    One year ago this last weekend I had my first date with a girl in my (Latin) dance class. I wasn’t certain I was interested in her, but I took the chance and asked her out. As it happened, a friend of mine was going dancing with a date that weekend, but I later learned that they didn’t want to double date, just meet at the dance hall. So, we scrambled for a way to get there and ended up doubling with her roommate and the guy that she would eventually marry (they got back together that night).

    We danced, we stopped by my date’s mom’s house in Sandy, UT, played some games, and rode home. At this time I wasn’t really certain what to do; I only knew that I was enjoying myself. So, in a fit of desperation I asked her if she would like to go out again…very soon (an almost exact quote). She said that she would have to check her calendar. So, like the awkward guy that I was, I told her I would wait outside while she gets her planner.

    As it would have it, she actually just said that to give herself more time, but my insistence on waiting completely decimated her attempt to have more time to consider. Of course, she was open, so we scheduled another date the next weekend.

    The next day, in our dance class, she requested more time, which threw me for a loop.

    To make a long story short (though I do have the longer version on file, if anyone is interested), we dated, she decided not to go on the mission she was called to (Bangkok [sp?]), she came home early from her internship in Belgium, and we got married 6 months later. This weekend we celebrated our 6 month anniversary. I had to fight for this one, but it has been worth every bit of effort (and then some).

    So, happy Valentine’s day, T&S people!!!!!!!!

  2. George on February 14, 2006 at 2:40 pm

    I met my wife when I was older (41 never married) after she had been through a divorce. We had dated of an on, but her ex was still in the picture, and sometimes he would ask her out. Well on a Friday before Valentines I had a date with her, it would have been for Valentines Day, but again her ex. We had a great time and she made a decision that night, with me not knowing, that I was the one. Well the next day she told her ex that she wanted to become more serious with me. That night I got a call from him telling me to pick her up at the Portland Temple Parking Lot. I thought it was very appropriate that we got engaged that night and some 200 + teddy bears later we where married.

  3. sue on February 14, 2006 at 3:08 pm

    sweet story Kaimi – thanks for sharing ;>

  4. Kevin Barney on February 14, 2006 at 6:33 pm

    I love these kinds of stories, Kaimi. Such a relatively extravagant gift so early in a budding relationship easily could have backfired. Her reaction was worth the risk you took. Thanks for telling this one.

    (Did anyone else watch the Valentine’s Day episode of The Office? With Pam, the receptionist, having to constantly sign for flowers and gifts for another woman in the office, and getting nothing herself from her fiance? It was very funny stuff.)

  5. jp in lv nv on February 14, 2006 at 7:31 pm

    Thanks Kaimi–my husband took the risk like you did! We met in Dec. he asked me to marry him on Valentine’s Day, and we were married in May–18 years this year. I wasn’t considering marriage at the time, but am real glad he was! Have a great Valentines!

  6. Jack on February 14, 2006 at 8:34 pm

    18 years for me too! Our anniversary is just before Valentines Day. So it feels like we’re celebrating for a week or so. Fun!

  7. Ben H on February 14, 2006 at 9:41 pm

    Arg! As if it weren’t fraught enough already : P
    Well, I haven’t done anything bold like that today. Unfortunately, I haven’t had any flirtatious snowball fights for quite a while now. I did go to a nursing home with a friend (it was most explicitly not a date) to hang paper hearts and such on the walls for an elderly woman she visit teaches! Based on that, maybe Cupid will grant me a reprieve?
    : )

  8. Stephen M (Ethesis) on February 14, 2006 at 10:54 pm

    I met Win in October and we were married January 26. She is still the love of my life.

  9. danithew on February 14, 2006 at 11:43 pm

    What a cool story.

  10. grego on February 14, 2006 at 11:55 pm

    great stories. interesting. my best holiday for this stuff was always halloween… :)

  11. Téa on February 15, 2006 at 1:19 pm

    Awww, Kaimi, that’s so sweet! I’d love to hear Mardell’s memories of that whirlwind week.

    Valentine’s 1996 my sweetie was living in another state and organized a surprise treasure hunt for me by calling different people and places in the town where I lived and mailing them packages that contained presents and clues. We were married seven months later =)

  12. Drew P. on February 15, 2006 at 8:11 pm

    Awww, Kaimi, that’s so sweet! I’d love to hear Mardell’s memories of that whirlwind week.

    Trust but verify? :)

  13. ala on February 15, 2006 at 9:17 pm

    sounds almost too good to be true! congratulations on finding your one and only.